Sal Soghoian — who spent almost 20 years at Apple leading the company’s AppleScript, Automator, and automation efforts — announced in November that he was leaving Apple after his role at the company was eliminated. Thankfully, he has resurfaced as the author of a new guest blog series covering automation.
In his first entry at MacStories, Soghoian makes the argument that app extensions are not a replacement for user automation:
Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.
Certainly Automation would be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.
But putting the technicalities aside, the whole purpose of User Automation is to serve the user of the computer, to enable a motivated customer to use and create automation tools, like scripts, workflows, and applets, without restrictions or the requirement of being a developer proficient in Xcode and Objective-C or Swift. User Automation is for the rest of us. Ah, remember that old chestnut?
Soghoian published a number of great automation-related posts at macosxautomation.com during his time at Apple, and it’s great to see that he plans to continue advocating for the future of automation on the Mac.